Archived News:

Tuesday, Jul 10, 2007

F.E.A.R. of a USB Performance Hit

Does a performance drop in 'F.E.A.R.' point to larger PC gaming problem? on News.com is a blog about a major performance hit in F.E.A.R. that they've traced back to the use of USB peripherals. Though unsure of whether this problem impacts other games, they have, however, confirmed the F.E.A.R. glitch, and have word that owners of Logitech mice and keyboards will get a fix in the form of updated SetPoint drivers. Here's the deal:
Before we had any idea it was an input issue, we simply saw F.E.A.R. scores tank during testing on an otherwise powerful PC. Alongside our trusty lab technician Joseph Kaminski, the guys from Maingear and Nvidia technical marketing director Nick Stam narrowed it down to the input devices, largely based on the suggestions of the Nvnews forum thread. We were afraid that Nvidia would bow out at this point, since the slowdown didn't appear tied to a 3D driver like we initially thought. We're glad we were wrong. As Nick wrote me two weeks ago: "I'm still very interested in understanding the pure technical reasons, as this is definitely one of the strangest issues I've seen in a long time."

With Nvidia working on the problem independently, we then moved on to Logitech and Saitek, neither of whom had heard of the issue. We're still waiting to hear back from Saitek's technical team (which has been traveling), but Logitech's was available and got back to us quickly. It doesn't appear that Logitech's SetPoint mouse and keyboard software caused the issue (it wasn't installed on the Maingear PC during testing), but from what we've heard, a forthcoming SetPoint update will fix the problem.

We're glad that Logitech hardware owners, at least, may have a solution, but we'd still like to know what exactly causes the slowdown, and whether it affects other games. We have a meeting with Sierra (one of F.E.A.R.'s developers) at E3 this week, so we'll definitely be asking them in person.

Of the vendors we've talked to so far, all of them remain interested. That gives us faith that the problem will get the attention it needs. We were frustrated, though, when we saw people had posted about this issue in official and unofficial forums as long as 10 months ago. Apparently it takes a while for the wisdom of crowds to sink in.

The World According to NIMF

The National Institute on Media and the Family has released a series of recommendations "for Future Video Game Research, Education and Public Policy." The announcement offers a sampling, ranging from the sublime ("incorporate into video game ratings information for consumers about the potential beneficial effects of video games") to the ridiculous ("Establish dedicated educational programs for the judiciary system on how scientific research establishes probabilistic conclusions about causality and translating scientific research for court opinions / decisions"). Here goes:
MINNEAPOLIS – Stating progress has been made but additional research is needed, the National Institute on Media and the Family and researchers from Iowa State University today released a detailed report with recommendations from its National Summit on Video Games, Youth and Public Policy. The report’s recommendations on video game research, education and public policy were a result of the collaboration of academic scholars, public health officials, and child health advocates who discussed the health and psychological impact of violent and sexually explicit video games on children and the current rating system.

“This report serves as a ‘best practices’ repository for researchers and policymakers,” said Dr. Craig Anderson of Iowa State University. “The report breaks new academic ground and offers new ideas for policymakers, public health advocates and parents.”

“Future research, including studies regarding the effects of media violence on children, will be well-served by this report,” added Dr. Douglas Gentile of Iowa State University. “The next step is to make these recommendations a reality.”

Among the recommendations listed in the report:

        • Involve parental input and research, including how to make video game content descriptors more effective and useful.
        • Identify reasons why parents disregard the M-rating (Mature, for age 17 and older).
        • In addition to negative effects of violent video games, incorporate into video game ratings information for consumers about the potential beneficial effects of video games that offer positive attributes.
        • Encourage scientific organizations to file amicus briefs, or friend-of-the-court briefs, in support of court cases involving video game sales restrictions.
        • Establish dedicated educational programs for the judiciary system on how scientific research establishes probabilistic conclusions about causality and translating scientific research for court opinions / decisions.
        • Make the message of harm from violent video game playing more consistent within and among scientists, public health organizations, the video gaming industry, and educational institutions, particularly at the elementary school levels, to help parents and their children clearly understand violent video game effects.

“These recommendations were designed to protect families from gratuitous violence and sex in video games and assist the ESRB in enhancing its ratings enforcement and educational efforts,” said Dr. David Walsh, president of the National Institute on Media and the Family. “While great strides have been made in improving ratings education and enforcement, more work is needed to address the rise of violence in video games.”

Walsh praised the Entertainment Software Rating Board’s recent decision to issue Take-Two’s Manhunt 2 an “Adults-Only” rating and its crackdown on video game trailers. He said it’s proof that the ESRB has made significant progress in keeping extremely violent and graphic materials out of children’s hands.

The National Summit on Video Games, Youth and Public Policy was held in November 2006. Participants included Patricia Vance of the ESRB, Jeff McIntyre of the American Psychological Association and U.S. Representative Betty McCollum.

The full report, including a full list of summit participants, is available on the National Institute on Media and the Family’s Web site, www.mediafamily.org/videogame2006summit.

Trainz Railwayz Announced

Merscom announces an October release for Trainz Railwayz in North America, combining two new Trainz games with a newly Vista-compatible edition of Trainz Railroad Simulator:
CHAPEL HILL, NC – July 10, 2007 – Merscom announced today that it will publish the PC title Trainz Railwayz for North American retail. Trainz Railwayz will combine two new titles in the Trainz line of games, and will also include as a bonus the best-selling Trainz Railroad Simulator (modified to be compatible with Windows Vista™). Available late fall in major retail locations, the game, which is actually three complete games, will retail for only $19.99 USD.

Trainz Railways includes two new titles from the Trainz line of games: Harlem Line Edition and the Metropolis Edition.

The Harlem Line Edition is a representation of New York's Harlem Line. Activities will consist of historically accurate commuter and departmental operations typical of those seen from the early 80s to the present day. Each session is designed to reflect the real-life atmosphere of the locality and the services.

The Metropolis Edition, designed by Roger Cabo, is among the most stunning displays of Trainz ever created, focused on a modern city tramway and with beautifully realistic graphics.

"Trainz Railroad Simulator was a tremendous success last year, selling over 50,000 copies, and I am sure Trainz Railwayz will resonate even better both with traditional gamers and train enthusiasts,” said Lloyd Melnick, Chief Customer Officer for Merscom. “Trainz Railwayz is a great bundle, combining two stunning new games with a hit title. It is a great value for either someone new to the Trainz franchise or somebody already enjoying Trainz.”

“We are very excited about the release of our new series because it will appeal to both our loyal online following and also to our more casual users,” said Graham Edelsten, Director of Auran Games. “Trainz Railwayz is a great collection that allows users to simulate unique periods in railroad history while still having a great time. Whether users are just beginning or have been playing Trainz for years, Trainz Railwayz provides seemingly endless amounts of entertainment.”

ArchLord Incentive

Codemasters announces that new ArchLord players with the boxed retail edition of the MMORPG will receive a bonus of 6,000 in-game credits, stressing this applies to new accounts and retail product purchases:
Codemasters Online Gaming is pleased to announce that every new account started using a retail version of the game now receives 6,000 credits. All you need to do is simply buy the retail version of the game, create a new account and you will receive 6,000 credits to get you started in the world of Chantra.

Evening Previews

  • Age of Conan: Hyborian Adventures on Eurogamer.
  • Assassin's Creed on IGN.
  • Gods & Heroes: Rome Rising on GameSpy.
  • Mercenaries 2: World in Flames on Games Radar.

Evening Screenshots

etc., etc.

Spielberg's PC Game

Electronic Arts serves up some information on the upcoming games in their collaboration with Steven Spielberg, revealing one title will be available on PCs, an action/adventure that currently does not carry a release date. Word is the game "puts you in the leading role of an emotional journey where your actions tell the tale. Set against the backdrop of an epic story, the game focuses on a touching and ever-changing relationship between you and a mysterious female character who holds the key to many futures." Here's the whole shebang:
LOS ANGELES, CALIF., July 10, 2007 – Electronic Arts Inc. (NASDAQ: ERTS) today revealed the first details surrounding two of the three new original intellectual properties in development at EA Los Angeles (EALA) in collaboration with Academy Award® winning director and producer, Steven Spielberg.

"I am a gamer myself and game development has always intrigued me,” said Steven Spielberg. “Now I’ve been able to jump in and do it, enjoying the creative collaboration with the EALA team on our first two games and I feel we have two incredibly unique projects in development.”

“Steven’s vision as both a storyteller and a gamemaker makes partnering with him an incredible experience,” noted General Manager Neil Young. “Together we’re making games that are unique and that we feel will each move the medium in their own way.”

As an exclusive for the Wii™ from Nintendo, the first of the two projects will allow for players of all ages to compete in over a hundred challenging, action-packed interactive games that take blocks to a new level of creativity and fun for single player, co-op, and versus gameplay. Additionally, use the Wii remote to build your own fun games and structures or turn the same Wii remote into a destructive tool to bring them crashing down.

The second, and more ambitious project in development, is a contemporary action-packed adventure that puts you in the leading role of an emotional journey where your actions tell the tale. Set against the backdrop of an epic story, the game focuses on a touching and ever-changing relationship between you and a mysterious female character who holds the key to many futures. The game is in development for PLAYSTATION®3 computer entertainment system, Xbox 360™ videogame and entertainment system from Microsoft, and PC. No ship timeframe has been disclosed.

“Through our partnership we are delivering games that are not only engaging and compelling with interactivity, but we hope can also move people emotionally,” noted Young.

“I am truly enjoying the creative collaboration and we hope that gamers will be as excited as we are about what we can bring to the medium through our shared vision,” added Spielberg.

Commanders: Attack Announced, BSG Details

Sierra Online announces details on three games, offering new information on the XBLA edition of Switchball and the Battlestar Galactica game, while announcing Commanders: Attack, a turn-based strategy game with a retro feel due for release this fall:
Sierra Online, a division of Vivendi Games, has released the first details and artwork for three of its upcoming titles – Switchball, an inventive physics-based puzzle game, Commanders: Attack!, a turn-based tactical military game, and Battlestar Galactica, a space combat game inspired by the popular TV series.

Coming to Xbox LIVE Arcade late this summer and currently available for the PC on popular online gaming portals, Switchball challenges players to control an ever-changing ball along a narrow and challenging course suspended in midair. A polymorphous ball exhibits different physical characteristics as it changes form as either a standard Marbleball, a feather-light Airball, an electrically charged Powerball or a dense and powerful Metalball. Players will have to solve their way through challenging levels packed with tricky obstacles, traps and mazes. With beautifully rendered 3D environments including Skyworld, Iceworld, Caveworld, Cloudworld and Lavaworld, Switchcball features an advanced physics engine, allowing players to interact with objects just as they would in the real world.

Commanders: Attack! is a gripping turn-based tactical game with a combination of strategic troop placement and entertaining head-to-head warfare. Featuring a 1930’s art deco look and feel, players will use missile launchers, bombers and infantry to amputate the enemies’ defenses and conquer the land. Players can choose to challenge the computer AI in a 15-mission campaign across three different landscapes or battle against three friends either locally or online in four intense multiplayer modes - Versus, Team Play, Player vs. CPU or same-system Skirmish. Commanders: Attack! will be available on Xbox LIVE Arcade and Windows PC this fall.

Inspired by the hit television series, Battlestar Galactica, airing on the SCI FI Channel, Battlestar Galactica is an action-packed top-down space combat game set in the universe of the hugely popular sci-fi television show. Players can take part in enormous multiplayer space battles with up to eight players online or play through the single-player campaign that includes memorable missions from the TV series. Pilots can either sign up to defend the Galactica or play as the ruthless Cylons as they seek to remove the human race from existence. With full 3D graphics to show off the detailed ships and cosmic environments, Battlestar Galactica allows players to fly four Human and four Cylon ships from the Viper II to the Cylon raider, each with unique weapon capabilities. Battlestar Galactica will be available on Xbox LIVE Arcade, as well as Windows PC this fall.

Mirror's Edge Announced

Following the earlier report of PC plans for Mirror's Edge, comes the game's official announcement, confirming the PC is one of the platforms for DICE's upcoming project, along with "next generation consoles" (the PS4, Xbox 720, and the WiiWii?):
Redwood City, CA. – July 10th 2007 – Electronic Arts Inc., (NASDAQ: ERTS) today confirmed that it has a new game in development for next generation consoles and the PC at its EA DICE studio in Stockholm. Mirror’s Edge™ is a revolutionary new take on the First Person Action Adventure category.

Patrick Soderlund, General Manager of EA DICE, commented: “We are a studio that believes in taking risks and taking games in new directions. We made the sandbox experience viable and enjoyable in Battlefield and now, we are looking to do something radical with the traditional established mechanics of first person movement.”

Senior producer, Owen O’Brien, commented: “We want to change the way that players are able to move in first person. No more restrictions, no more being blocked by simple barriers such as walls and fences. We want to enable the player to move like a real person, with the ability to run, jump, vault and slide in a way that has never been seen before in a first person game."

Mirror’s Edge will ship in calendar year 2008 for the PLAYSTATION®3 computer entertainment system, Xbox 360™ videogame and entertainment system and for the PC and is being developed at EA DICE in Stockholm, Sweden. This product is not yet rated by PEGI or ESRB. For more information on EA DICE, please visit www.dice.se or www.ea.com.

Lord of the Rings Online to Expand

GameSpy has word on plans for The Lord of the Rings Online: The Eye of the Iron Crown, an upcoming free expansion for Turbine's MMORPG. According the report, the add-on will include Book 10 in the game's epic storyline, over 100 new quests, a dozen new monsters, new dungeons, as well as a new reputation and bartering system, "session play" for Rangers and Trolls, and "critter play," which is illegal in many states. No release date for the expansion is offered.

UFO: Trilogy Announced

Altar, Cenega, and Ascaron announce UFO: Trilogy, which bundles UFO: Aftermath, UFO: Aftershock, and UFO: Afterlight, offering three times the alien-hating strategy in a single box that's due on August 31:
This collection of three titles from the critically acclaimed UFO series takes you on a voyage from Earth to Mars! Enjoy hours of gameplay in this combination of squad based tactical action and global strategy.

UFO: Aftermath will pit you against an alien threat. Use all of your skills and abilities to defend planet Earth from destruction. Fight against mutant and alien invaders, research new technologies, develop incredible devices and powerful weapons to help you in your war against the uninvited marauders.

UFO: Aftershock The year is 2054. The surface of Earth has become uninhabitable. Retreating to the flying haven of the Laputa, the remnants of humankind cling to existence. A human revolt aboard the Laputa escalates into a conflict that destroys the colony. Now, the remaining survivors flee once again. Can they reclaim the Earth from the unknown forces that chased them into the skies?

UFO: Afterlight takes alien warfare to another time and place. Mankind has been dealt a cruel blow. We have lost our homeworld. And yet, we are not defeated. Now, we fight for the survival of our race. Now, we fight to conquer a new home for mankind – planet Mars!

UFO: Features
- Global strategy and tactical action
- Develop characters with strong RPG elements
- Strategic resource and base management
- Research weapons, equipment and technologies
- Extensive tactics with building interiors, rough terrain, variable heights, destructible environments, thermo vision and much more
- Intricate diplomacy options
- Terrifying enemies and powerful allies
- Employ psionic assaults
- Authentic physics model

The UFO: Trilogy pack is guaranteed to be a highly collectable purchase, with the boxed release including the 3 complete game DVDs, game poster, a collection of postcards and a UFO booklet.

UFO: Trilogy releases on the 31st August 2007 on PC DVD-ROM.

Mirror's Edge for PCs?

DICE reveals Mirror's Edge details is a story from a couple of days ago that doesn't really offer much in the way of the promised details, outlining a new first-person game in the works at DICE previously known by the working title Project Faith they say is "believed to be in development for next-generation consoles." GameDaily now has a story up about the game, called "a revolutionary new take on the First Person Action Adventure category," that says the PC is actually one of the game's target platforms, saying the "the game will appear on Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC sometime during 2008." Update: The PC edition of the game has been officially announced (story).

World of Warcraft Patched

The Unofficial World of Warcraft Forums have word that World of Warcraft version 2.1.3 is now available (thanks Ant). A couple of tweaks and fixes are involved, including a much longer expiration time for read in-game mail.

Sword of the New World is Drawn

K2 Network announces that Sword of the New World: Granado Espada, their "epic Age of Exploration MMORPG" is now live. The game is available at UK retailers, and will be available for download this week. Here's word, which includes details on the game's multi-tiered pricing structure (including a free option), and enough mentions of their URL it could be applied directly to the forehead:
IRVINE, Calif. – (July 10, 2007) – K2 Network, Inc. (www.k2network.net), an online game publisher today announced that its epic Age of Exploration MMORPG Sword of the New World: Granado Espada will be available in download in North America and Europe this week. The game is available at www.swordofthenewworld.com.

“With its unique and compelling gameplay that caters to both the seasoned and novice MMORPG player, Sword of the New World fits into K2 Network’s unique vision of Gamers First”, said Grantley Day, Vice President of Product Development at K2 Network. “Sword of the New World is destined to become top of many players wish list in 2007.”

Sword of the New World: Granado Espada is an Age of Exploration fantasy MMORPG that is the first of its kind to include Multi Character Control. With a full spectrum of features including character customization, large-scale maps and breathtaking graphics, Sword of the New World has the ability to capture anyone’s heart. Taking place in the Age of Exploration when European colonists’ forayed into the new world, this detailed game is full of mystery and danger while players go on a hunt for treasure, adventure, and most importantly, fame.

Sword of the New World: Granado Espada is free to download at www.swordofthenewworld.com. Players have the following packages to choose from:

Pay2Play CD Networks Premium Package-$19.99
The official download partner for Sword of the New World: Granado Espada, CD Networks, offers a premium package with a one-time fee of $19.99 and includes a fast download of the client, an exclusive UPC character, 10,000 VIS (in-game currency) and the first month subscription fee included ($8.95 a month thereafter). This package also includes full game access, trading and auction support with no level cap. Players who already have the client downloaded and installed can also purchase this package without having to re-install the client. To sign up for this package visit www.swordofthenewworld.com.

Pay2Play Monthly Subscription Package-$8.95
Players who want the basic monthly subscription package can purchase it for an $8.95 monthly fee.
This package includes full game access, trading and auction support with no level cap and the ability to purchase in-game items. To sign up for this package visit www.swordofthenewworld.com.

Free2Play™
Players can download and play Sword of the New World: Granado Espada for free and play up to level 20. Players can continue playing for free indefinitely; however, will not gain experience points past level 20. To download the game visit www.swordofthenewworld.com.

For more information about Sword of the New World: Granado Espada please visit http://www.swordofthenewworld.com

Retail Painkiller: Overdose

DreamCatcher and JoWooD announce plans for a retail release of Painkiller: Overdose, which was originally characterized as a grassroots modification, in spite of being created by Mindware Studios, a commercial developer. Confusingly described as a prequel that will also tie up loose ("wandering") ends from Painkiller, the game is set to hit store shelves this October:
Toronto, Canada; Vienna, Austria. July 10th, 2007. DreamCatcher Interactive / JoWooD Productions Software AG today announced their plans to publish Painkiller: Overdose for Windows®. With a worldwide release date set for October 2007, Painkiller: Overdose marks the return of the popular high-energy, frantic-styled gameplay that made the original Painkiller such a huge hit.

Originally born as a grassroots development project by Mindware Studios, DreamCatcher and JoWooD are fully endorsing the project. By providing full financial and publisher support, Mindware will now receive additional technology and assets in order to move Overdose from a simple community mod to a full-fledged retail-ready gaming experience.

“We are thrilled to be endorsing this project and look forward to working closely with Mindware Studios,” said Albert Seidl, President and CEO for the JoWooD Group. “The excitement from Painkiller fans around the world is mounting and we will be happy to deliver what they’ve been waiting for!”

Packed with tons of fast-paced, adrenaline-fueled single player and multiplayer levels of mayhem, Painkiller: Overdose brings with it 6 innovative new demonic weapons, mind-bending physics, lightning-player maps, over 40 demented and sickly-twisted monsters from Hell and gigantic end bosses that will blow your mind!.

Game Features:

        • A Prequel to the eventual Sequel bridges the storyline and ties up wandering ends.
        • Overdose introduces a new character and storyline that examines the repercussions of Daniel defeating Lucifer in the original Painkiller!
        • 16 NEW levels of fast-paced pain-killing action!
        • 6 New demonic weapons grant the powers of a demi-god to souls awaiting damnation everywhere!
        • Crafted and designed completely by Mindware Studios; long-time advocates and fans of the game.
        • A reshuffled Tarot deck infuses Belial with new powers and devastating combinations.
        • An innovative direction in the Painkiller universe!
        • Over 40 demented and sickly-twisted monsters from Hell New End Bosses of colossal statures standing guard over Hell's crumbling domain and the entrances to the other realms!
        • A revitalized commitment to multiplayer introduces a series of stats tracking features and game server options intended to revamp the multiplayer experience.
        • Multiplayer compatibility with original Painkiller multiplayer maps and game modes!

Please visit: www.projectoverdose.com for more information.

Mythos Closed Beta

Ping0 announces the "opening" of closed beta testing of Mythos, Flagship Seattle's upcoming MMORPG. Testing will commence on July 10, so those interested in participating should head over to this page, prove they are over 18 by clicking the checkbox, and signing up. Here are the details:
SAN FRANCISCO, Calif., (July 10, 2007) Ping0, LLC, a joint-venture between Flagship Studios and HanbitSoft, Inc., today announced the opening of a closed beta program for the highly anticipated massively multiplayer online role-playing game Mythos™ developed by Flagship Studios Seattle.

The program will commence with the first Mythos beta test on July 10th which will officially begin the beta test phase across the globe. During testing, eager fans will be given their first look of the online world of Mythos. The game will be tested in multiple phases and the first set of beta testers will be notified by Flagship Studios via email. To join the closed beta, interested gamers should sign up at the official site http://www.mythos.com/join_kingdom.jsp

“The opening of the closed beta program is a real milestone in the development of Mythos,” said Phil Shenk, Creative Director of Mythos and founding member of Flagship Studios, “With its simple pick-up-and-play gameplay and an ever-expanding universe, the beta test will offer players their first opportunity to experience the Mythos universe before the commercial release later this year.”

Mythos is an online, action role-playing game that is free to download and free to play. Set in the land of Uld – a fantasy world arising from the ashes of an epoch-long war of darkness – players assume the roles of fantasy heroes as they explore, adventure, and quest through entirely randomized dungeons and environments. With an elegant point-and-click interface and an accessible “isometric” perspective, Mythos is poised to have near-universal appeal. The game allows thousands of players to interact within the same world while using mostly “instanced” dungeons to create unique gaming experiences suited for both solo and group-minded players.

As players journey into Mythos’ ever-expanding universe, they select one of three races (Humans, Satyrs, or Gremlins) and opt to play as a particular character class using a huge variety of skills and items. Through heroic quests players search for gold, gems, armor, and weapons, while unlocking the secrets of Uld. Mythos presents a constantly expanding, continuously updated world where something new lurks around every corner.

Mythos is an online role-playing game developed by Flagship Seattle, a subsidiary of Flagship Studios. Mythos is currently exercising the online technology and services behind the multiplayer component of the highly-anticipated action role-playing game Hellgate: London. Mythos will be digitally distributed in North America and Europe in 2007 by Ping0. HanbitSoft, Flagship Studios’ partner in Ping0, will be responsible for distributing Mythos in Asia.

Delaware St. John Volume 3: The Seacliff Tragedy Demo

A second demo for Delaware St. John Volume 3: The Seacliff Tragedy offers another chance to sample the latest installment in this survival/horror series. The download is available from Lighthouse Interactive and mirrored on Gamer's Hell.

The Early Show

  • Call of Duty 4
    The Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare E3 2007 trailer is available on 3D Downloads, FileFront, and Gamer's Hell, showing off the upcoming installment in Infinity Ward's military shooter sequel.
  • Medal of Honor: Airborne
    Planet Medal of Honor has linked to a video they found on YouTube that seems to be the final "flak tower" encounter from Medal of Honor: Airborne.
  • Need for Speed: ProStreet
    A video diary and a trailer are now online for Need for Speed: ProStreet, showing off and discussing the upcoming return of the street racing series. The GT-R Proto trailer is available on FileFront and Gamer's Hell, and the diary video is available on Gamer's Hell.
  • Haze
    A second diary movie from Haze offers a further look and discussion of Free Radical's game, showing the preparations for demonstrating the game at the Ubidays event. The diary is available on Ubisoft's FTP and mirrored on FileFront and Gamer's Hell.
  • The Settlers: Rise Of An Empire
    This Ubisoft FTP directory offers three gameplay movies from The Settlers: Rise Of An Empire, with footage of the upcoming strategy/management series. Thanks Gamer's Hell.

Global Conflicts: Palestine Q&A

The Global Conflicts: Palestine Q&A on Strategy Informer talks with Simon Egenfeldt-Nielsen of Serious Games about Global Conflicts: Palestine, their politically charged serious game: "It was really quite a mix. We wanted to make a serious games that appealed to both non-gamers, gamers and educators ­ something that had an agenda beyond entertainment and could show that games can do more that the mainstream game industry suggests. We thought global conflicts would work really well, and looking at the conflicts around the globe, one really stood out. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict seems to go on and on, attracting a lot of people's attention. Many is interested but only get to the quick fixes from newspapers and television. We thought that through the game we could reach people in a different and engaging way that would give people a better understanding of the conflict while not being bored or overwhelmed by the complexity. Also, we really felt that the conflict had a lot of interesting and suitable conflicts that could work in the game environment and setup that we envisioned early on."

Morning Preview

  • Sword Of The New World: Granado Espada on Games32.

Morning Screenshots

Mac GameTap Launches

GameTap announces the promised launch of the Macintosh wing of this online gaming distribution service, saying their expansion into the Mac community reflects a "commitment to being the premier destination for people who love to play games." Word is:
The availability of GameTap for the Mac is made possible through the use of TransGaming’s Cider portability engine, which enables PC games to run on Intel-based Macs. With TransGaming’s Cider technology, all of GameTap’s free and Gold level membership features will run on all Intel-based Macs including Mac Books and Mac Minis.

PS2: Less Boring than a Girlfriend?

Sony has a strong recent history of edgy advertising, or as Pardon Me, But How Do You Say 'WTF' In Hindi?, the latest LevelUp blog points out, not just pushing the envelope, but "obliterating the envelope." That post shows a recent print ad from India for the PlayStation 2 featuring a girl giving a boy an earful of yada yada, offering tagline we never thought we'd see in an ad: "PS2: Because Your Girlfriend Bores You S--tless."

Tuesday Game Reviews

Tuesday Hardware Reviews

etc.

  • ATARI reveals plans to release Master of Orion 2 and Master of Orion 3 via digital download. Thanks Suet…

Out of the Blue

It's been freaky hot here the past few days, but in this case, "here" is not just New York or the northeast, but the entire USA and beyond. In fact the past couple of days I've seen national weather maps in TV forecasts that show every spot in the country in red, one meteorologist making the "hell" analogy. It's not that bad, as it certainly could get worse, but it's not good either. When the revamped E3 was announced for July, scheduling an event for mid-summer in southern California seemed ill-advised, but I don't think anyone imagined just how bad an idea that would turn out to be, after all, today's forecast for L.A. calls for a high of 77, while today's local forecast's high is 92. Wait a second... you mean I could fly to the Mojave desert and it would be cooler than here? Yeesh!!!!

Hot Links! Thanks Ant.
Play: Which is the real logo? Thanks Enahs.
Link of the Morning: Get Smart Trailer. Actually a bumbling spy, not detective. Thanks Ain't It Cool News.
Science!: Small, Yes, but Mighty: The Molecule Called Water (registration required). Thanks Mike Martinez.
Women drawn to men with muscles. Thanks Mike Martinez. Stop the presses!
Images: World’s Neatest Used Video Game Store.
Media: Rolling Different Tires Down A Ski Jump Hill. Call me psychic, I saw the end coming.
4th of July fun (The Man Cannon). Especially if that man is Darwin.
Top 10 dumb thieves. Thanks Neatorama.
Teh Funny: Dilbert.
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